Last week, Robert Foster suggested a few ways that football could be improved in order to appeal more to weedy people who like books and paintings and fashion magazines. And I’m not having a go either, because even though I love football, I can understand why a lot of people wouldn’t.

I mean, even as a fan it’s hard to find Bolton Vs Stoke on a gray Sunday afternoon anything other than a terrifying, life-taking experience. Footballers themselves are mostly the worst kind of human in the world - look at the whole of the Chelsea squad (save Joe Cole; love that ill proportioned small guy). And that’s not to mention the grotesque wealth, abundant cliches, and lack of intelligence that haunts most players. To draw on hip hop parlance, while it’s fair enough to hate the player, it is still possible to love the game.

You see, although Bob made some good suggestions on how to make football more glamorous, if he’d looked a little harder he would have discovered that the beautiful game has a pretty seedy and corrupt underbelly that plays out like a 1980s Scorsese film, intriguing and dramatic in equal measure.

Check out these examples.

ROBBERY - Salvador Cabanas

Have you ever headed a football before? I don’t care what anyone says, it’s fucking horrible. It’s worse than being punched in the face. Every time you do it you feel a small amount less intelligent. It probably explains the reason for people like John Terry who love smashing their face into the ball. Or maybe it’s that I’m a pussy? I dunno, but I’m happy to not make myself anymore stupid than I have to be and avoid heading the ball at all costs. Because, if you repeatedly use your head as a foot in football, you’re either really fucking stupid or really fucking hard. Paraguayan striker Salvador Cabanas certainly belongs in the latter camp (look at the size of the guy!). He makes 50 Cent look like that pussy Tupac.

Cabanas was the main player in Paraguay’s qualification for this World Cup and would have almost certainly played for them if he hadn’t been shot in the face while at, what is reported to be, an ‘upmarket Mexico night spot’ - I didn’t know they even existed? It’s unclear the motivation for the attack, but while out for the night with his wife, Cabanas went to the bathroom where he was accosted by two armed men. The altercation resulted in Cabanas being shot, all of which was caught on CCTV footage (it seems to have disappeared from the internet now, but here’s a video of him looking pretty fucked on the pavement).

Remarkably, Cabanas survived, but the doctors deemed it unsafe to remove the bullet from his head, so the guy’s now walking around (yes, walking! What a hero) with a bullet lodged in his brain and talking about making a comeback in professional football, playing table tennis in press conferences to prove the retention of his motor skills. Incredible. And if the football doesn’t work out, dude could easily release a hip hop record 4REAL.

HOMOPHOBIA - Justin Fashanu

Football is pretty gay. As with all male team sports, there appears to be a repressed element of homosexuality that permeates throughout football. Perhaps it’s the narcissistic focus on appearance? Perhaps it’s the communal baths and WAGs that look unerringly like transvestites? Or perhaps it’s just Ashley Cole? Whichever way you choose to look at it, football is a lot about men alone together, which makes it surprising that there is not a single ‘out’ footballer in the whole of the English football league.

Or, then again, maybe it’s not surprising, since the last (and only) high profile footballer to announce he was gay was vilified and hounded by the media, fans and his own brother alike to such an extent that his career was ruined. What an ANTI-LAD.

But it wasn’t only Justin Fashanu’s footballing career that was ruined. Fashanu also took his own life several years later as a result, driven to a state of depression by the outwardly homophobic nature of the sport, not to mention being rejected by his own family. Seems the ‘faggot’ couldn’t handle the BANTER. Perhaps John Fashanu thought his career presenting Gladiators, a TV show featuring huge muscly men in sweaty leotards and women that looked like huge muscly men in leotards, would be threatened by any associations with being gay? That makes sense.

Good one, brotherly love and social intolerance.


If you were unlucky or stupid enough, last World Cup (circa 2006) you may have watched an ITV show called Rio’s World Cup Wind Ups, in which veritable funny man Rio Ferdinand played pranks on his fellow England colleagues. In one sketch, he ‘merked’ David Beckham by staging a fake kidnapping. Hilarious until you actually saw how terrified Beckham was since such a threat is a very real problem in his every day life. But Beckham is white, Western and one of the most famous and well-guarded people on the planet. He’s got enough status and cash to prevent such a thing happening to him or his family. Not Honduras midfielder, Wilson Palacios.

With Honduras possessing an unstable political climate and Wilson Palacios being the country’s highest profile footballer, his family became susceptible to radicals looking to make both money and a point. And so it followed, with his youngest brother, Edwin kidnapped in 2007 with a price on his head. As Wilson is a Premiership footballer who earns plenty cash, the family were able to pay the ransom of about £330k. But it wasn’t enough. Over two years later the remains of his dead brother were found in a shallow grave and now Palacios is playing at a World Cup he dedicates to Edwin. It’s a shame, then, that Honduras aren’t going to win a thing.


One of the worst things about football is the way English players always trot out the same jingoistic rhetoric about the “pride and passion” in playing for their country. It’s tedious and predictable, but worst of all, galling, as most of them play as if the only pride and passion they hold is for malnourished girlfriends with stuck on tits and wearing ties with massive knots. When they do inevitably fuck up, like Robert Green did the other weekend, the worst thing that happens is that The Sun makes a shit pun, some idiots laugh and they never play for England again. You don’t exactly get killed for it, which is exactly what happened to Colombian defender, Andres Escobar.

At U.S.A ’94, Escobar scored an own goal against the home nation, resulting in a 2-1 loss that led to Colombia being eliminated from the tournament in the first round. Admittedly, any fan of Colombia is going to feel a little disappointed by that, especially coming from an area of the world in which football is held in such high regard. However, Colombia is also a part of the world in which the criminal underworld possesses an imperious power.

Sadly for Escobar, it transpires that a number of quite influential and somewhat sociopathic people in the criminal underworld had large bets on Colombia to progress. Escobar had cost them a lot of money, so rather than selling a few more billion kilos of white powder to make up the shortfall, they killed the poor guy. And they did it in classy South American style, shooting him six times, screaming “GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!” after each bullet entered his body.

I think the moral of the story here, along with Cabanas and Palacios, is don’t be a South American footballer, and especially so if you happen to share a name with a famous drug lord.